20 Back to Marineford

Two days later,

All the marine recruits—nearly 300— who came to the training camp stood in the open field, some were excited, some were nervous and others were hesitant.

Today is the last day of the training camp. From tomorrow, they will be sent to the Sea. The sea where innumerable pirates roam and death happen every second.

A cruel world, indeed. Without the strength to protect themself, all of them are nothing but ants.

Instructor Zephyr came to send them off. "From today on, you guys aren't recruits but Marines with character 'Justice' printed behind your back.

You shouldn't betray it. After earning sufficient merit, anyone can come back here to learn 'Haki'. Try your best to survive the merciless sea and come back!"

After that, Zephyr called some of the promising recruits and send them off individually. Blaize was called too.

"You possess a devil fruit power, and I can tell, you improved it to a whole new level from the first time we met. But you shouldn't rely on your devil fruit excessively.

Your individual strength is what matters the most. Now go and discover the world. And, do what your heart says."

"Thank you, Zephyr Sensei. I won't let you down." Blaize saluted and boarded the marine ship docked on the shore.

-

The next day, Blazie along with Gion, Vergo, Shuzo, and other recruits reached the marineford.

After staying on the secluded Island for more than seven months, Blaize finally came back. He's thrilled thinking of sailing the seas and meeting strong opponents.

As soon as they arrived at the Marineford, shocking news reached their ears. It was talked about by all the Marine officers present in the Marineford.

Three months back, a person climbed the red mountain, burned an entire city in Mary Geoise, and freed all the Worldnobel slaves. It incurred the wrath of Celestial Dragons.

They want all the slaves to be captured back and the person who freed them to be executed. They directly blamed and displayed their anger on Marines.

Recently, most of the marines in the headquarters were dispatched for this purpose and tasked to catch the slaves back. This statement angered Blaize.

The slaves are also native people of this world. Why are they treated differently just because of the Celestial dragon 'hoof' mark?. Where's the justice in this?

If even the 'symbol of Justice' Marines fails to shelter them then who will? Sure enough, only the strongest decide what's justice and what's not.

The desire to become stronger burned more fiercely in his heart. 'Celestial Dragons...they better don't provoke me. Otherwise, I will incinerate every last one of them to ashes.' Blaize thought.

Around evening, the marine recruits were asked to assemble before the Marineford tower. Fleet Admiral Kong came personally and spoke some encouraging words.

After that, Admiral Sengoku and a few marine officers took his place. Sengoku came forward, introduced himself, and began to speak about some major laws that all the marines have to follow strictly.

Past that, he explained the merit system and its values. For every nameless Pirate or pirates with a bounty below 1 million they capture, they would get 1 merit point.

If said in an easier way, A Million would yield them 1 Merit point. For example, capturing or killing a pirate with 25 million bounties will yield them 25 Merits.

Past 100 million bounty, the merit point differs from pirate to pirate.

Using the Merit system, they can raise in ranks, request certain privileges, buy Devil fruits, weapons, learn Rokushiki, Haki, and various other perks.

Hearing the merit system invigorated the recruits. Their eyes gleamed, who wouldn't want to possess power, status, and authority higher than normal people.

But will it be so easy? Definitely not. Blaize was sure of that, otherwise, Marine Headquarters would have birthed many strong characters.

Then, the recruits were assigned under Marine officers holding Captain and above ranks. Except for Blaize, Vergo, Gion, Shuzo, and few other marine recruits who showed potential in training camp.

All of them are the ones who learned Rokushiki in training camp. Without a doubt, Instructor Zephyr's evaluation was taken into account.

Once the other recruits left the area, Sengoku once again spoke. "You are guys are the future pillars of marine. Countless new pirates were emerging every day and we can't deal with every one of them with our limited strength.

So, it's up to young marines like you to stop the pirates. It's also why I didn't assign any ranks to the twenty-five of you. Because you will pick your own rank. Marines need strong officers, so I am going to conduct a small test to measure your strength, courage, and will."

Speaking up to this point, Sengoku exuded a strong demeanor. "For an entire month, you will act alone and hunt the pirates.

You won't receive any sort of help from the marines. You will act as a pirate hunter and wander the first half of the Grand Line, companionless.

The number of pirates you either capture or kill this month will determine your Marine rank. Your process will be closely monitored by a secret unit.

Make no mistake, they won't interfere with what you do. Likewise, they won't bother even if you are killed."

Sengoku's words agitated the recruits. How will they hunt the entire pirate crew alone? It's absurd! Even Blaize was shocked a little.

The others are not like him, possessing a system and strong devil fruit powers. With a slight mishap, they will lose their life. Not all the pirates are like Luffy, they won't show a hint of mercy.

But none of them raised their opinions, affected by Sengoku's solemn bearing. At that moment, boisterous laughter came from a distance.

"Bwahahaha, you are scaring the brats Sengoku." Garp approached the group from behind.

"Garp, what are you doing here?" Sengoku asked with a twitch of his nose. 'Didn't I send him away, how did he smell the recruits are arriving today?'

What attracted Blaize's attention, is the tall man accompanying Garp—future Admiral, now Vice-Admiral, Kuzan.

A cool type of guy, like his fruit ability. Blaize would always be amused by his character in the One Piece series. Seeing him in person, amused him further.

"Blaize brat, you look stronger than before," Garp commented, noticing his figure.

"Thank you, Old Man Garp." Blaize thanked by bowing his head. Hearing his statement, both Sengoku and Kuzan covered their mouth and tried their best to hold the laughter.

"Garp-san, when did you become an old man?" Kuzan asked with a smile.

"...this brat." Garp narrowed his eyes and his figure vanished. Before Blaize could use Soru, his head was hit by a 'Fist of love'.

'Ughh' Blaize groaned clutching his head. 'It really hurts!'

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